Running your own business is a lot of work. No question. From late night inventory counts, to early morning deliveries, not to mention all the staff management and paperwork that goes on behind the scenes—as a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate.
Sure, being a business owner is not an impossible job—lots of people do it—27.9 million people in the US. But that doesn’t mean it’s not grueling, time consuming, and sometimes frustrating and isolating. There’s also a difference between being a small business owner, and running a successful small business. Whether you’re a veteran entrepreneur, or just beginning to think about starting your own endeavor, you can likely pinpoint a few things you could improve to help you become a better business owner.
Lots of small businesses fail—we don’t need to tell you that—so how do successful entrepreneurs succeed in business?
1. Focus on the Big Picture
Every business owner wears a lot of hats, but none more so than the small business owner who is personally responsible for at least 4.2 different roles within the organization. The most successful small business owners are able to complete day-to-day tasks while maintaining focus on long term goals. Whether that’s remembering to keep track of food waste costs while still perfecting your new dish or remembering to file payroll while designing the latest fashion—keeping the big picture top of mind while meeting short term objectives will keep your business moving forward.
2. Stay Budget-Minded
The most successful entrepreneurs are financially savvy and forward thinking with their budgets. While 69 percent of small business owners regularly review their finances, last year, a striking 61 percent didn’t proactively create a budget. It may seem rudimentary, but making a budget, and sticking to it, is one of the easiest ways to help your business succeed. It gives you a starting point to measure success, performance, and profit gain.
Once you begin tracking your finances, ensure to save an appropriate amount for taxes and establish an optimal business structure for liability. The most successful business owners pay themselves a salary from business earnings. Every step you take towards monitoring your business’s finances will keep you in tune to potential financial problems—before it’s too late.
3. Delegate and Trust Employees
There’s a lot you can do as a business owner—but you can’t do everything. Building a team that you trust and can delegate to is crucial to running a successful small business. A recent study found that business owners who successfully delegated work saw a 112 percent higher three-year return rate as opposed to those who didn’t. As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to relinquish total control over the business you worked hard to build—but an important step in growing your business is expanding your team. Small businesses create two out of three new jobs in the US each year, but make sure you’re landing the right employees who will positively impact your business.
Hire people who can think on their own, have the right skillset to help grow your business, and can comfortably manage day-to-day tasks without needing to be supervised or micro-managed.
4. Build Your Network
No matter how niche your business is—find a network. Networking is a great way to generate new business and grow your business’s audience. Whether it’s your food services contact, accountant, or another small business owner in your area, increasing the number of people who have a stake in your business will not only positively impact your bottom line, but will allow you stay up-to-date on emerging trends, money saving techniques, and other tips. Check to see if your community has a local business association, a local chamber of commerce, or an industry-specific organization to help you stay involved in the local business community.
5. Get Savvy About Online Marketing Efforts
Just because you have your brick and mortar up and running doesn’t mean your business can’t keep expanding. One of the easiest and cheapest ways for independent business owners to market and grow their business is by building an online presence—whether through social media, a website, or other online marketing avenues.
Studies show that 70-80 percent of people research a company online before visiting the business or making a purchase with them, so it’s important for your business to be accurately represented online. Don’t rely on third parties to provide accurate information about your business—create a professional looking website that describes what your business does, how to contact you, and if possible—start selling online.
With or without a robust website, you can grow your business with social media. 75 percent of small business owners say that social media has increased traffic—if your business isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, join today. Your social media pages don’t need to be ground breaking, simply keep your audience connected with your business by sharing updates, news, promotions, and specials.
6. Invest in Operational Technology
30 percent of small business owners say that keeping up with technology advances is a major concern. But when there are so many different tools available, it can be overwhelming to identify the right business services software. Understanding which technology will benefit your current and future business needs—like inventory management for restaurants, or HR policy for growing small businesses—will help you streamline your business operations and save money.
It can be tough to stay up to speed on all the changing and emerging technology trends, but you don’t need to jump to adopt every new technology you hear about. Savvy business owners find ways to integrate new technology and enhance their current processes by adding a few simple features to existing equipment and software. From trying a delivery app to upgrading your POS system, rolling out new technology shouldn’t be stressful or difficult—ensure you are working with a company you can trust to be there for you and continually optimize to meet your business needs.
7. Remain Passionate About Your Business
No matter how grueling the work may be, the very best business owners stay passionate and excited about what they do. When a business owner is enthusiastic and driven about their entrepreneurial endeavors, it permeates to the entire organization, creating a more welcoming and positive environment for both customers and staff. Entrepreneurs who convey passion about their business have more income, sales revenue, and growth in sales and earnings compared with entrepreneurs who are less passionate.
Being an entrepreneur is exciting yet challenging work, and at Beyond, we believe in giving you the tools to help your business thrive and grow. From payroll to workforce management, our integrated suite of business solutions can help drive your business forward.